Law Schools

As Law School Applications Drop 13.7 Percent Nationwide, KU Sees a 19 Percent Increase

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As the number of law school applications fell, overall, throughout the country for the second year in a row, a relative handful of law schools saw their numbers increase, sometimes dramatically.

Among them was Kansas University School of Law, which says it had a 19 percent increase in applications in 2012, the Lawrence Journal World reports.

Overall, applications throughout the country dropped about 13.7 percent in 2012, according to the Law School Admission Council. That followed a decline of 10 percent in 2011, according to the recent article on the New York Times’ DealBook blog.

Stephen Mazza, who serves as the law school dean, said information KU received from the LSAC showed it was one of only 11 law schools among some 200 accredited by the American Bar Association to see applications increase by more than 10 percent this year. A spokeswoman for the LSAC, when contacted by the newspaper, declined to discuss specific numbers for individual schools.

Why the dramatic difference in KU’s application numbers this year? Mazza says he thinks it is based on a cost-benefit analysis, as would-be legal eagles hesitate to rack up a lot of student debt at a time when a high-paying job may be a dream rather than a reality despite a juris doctor degree.

“I think they’re starting to make the realization that it just makes more sense to go to a high-quality public school as opposed to paying twice as much to go to a private school, or sometimes three times as much,” Mazza tells the newspaper.

Nonetheless, the 973 applications the school received this year still falls short of 1,120 it received 2010.

It isn’t only the amount of tuition that’s at issue, however, in the cost-benefit equation an increasing number of applicants seem to be trying to work out, the DealBook article notes. Students who graduate, say, from the 15 top-ranked law schools are much more likely to get high-paying jobs than those who graduate from low-ranked schools.

Related coverage: “Law School Applicants Drop by More Than 15 Percent; Are Tuition Cuts Ahead?” “Law Grads ‘Indentured Servants’ to Loans, Law Prof Says; Law School Crisis a Symptom of Weak Economy” “UMass Announces 3-Year Law School Tuition Freeze” “Several Top Law Schools Are Still Accepting Applications for Fall 2012”

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